at the end of the lane, before the bougainvillea path and around the corner from the small pavilion where the fisherman drink in the early afternoon, before the stretch of hot sand that separates us from the Bay of Bengal is a circular brick hut with a thatched roof. I first spy the thatched peak at a distance through the coconut grove from our back terrace, it is the roof that entices me off of my terrace and down the lane, simply so I can take a peek~I think it must be abandoned but how wrong I am. As I peer through the fence I am even more intrigued, not because of it’s primitiveness but because of the oasis that flourishes, rimmed by potted bottle palms, it seems uninhabited but cared for.
Clearly love and care have gone into the making of this garden that is surrounded by an outer perimeter of dust and dirt. Cactus grow here, it is hot, sandy, rural and beautiful. It is the same lane down which each morning a trail of men make their way to the beach to shite on it’s shores..yet, there, at the circular hut it would seem someone declared that beauty would rule on that little patch of dust.
The days pass and I observe laundry drying on the twig fence, a dog, a brief glimpse of a woman, beautiful and petite.. More days pass and I see her with two beautiful children in the lane, she kneels often to speak to them as they wait for their father to arrive home by scooter. The love this woman feels for her family is palpable even from my rooftop perch. The man, short in stature but handsome with a long ponytail smiles and they quietly turn into their little paradise.
I want to know these people, I want to know more about them and I want to step into their little oasis of a world. I wonder how did they come to live here in this thatched hut? They are not native to India, Nepalese or Tibetan-possibly.
One day I have an opportunity to draw closer, I see the woman picking fruit from a tree in the coconut grove, I call out to her, she hesitantly answers me and walks toward the fence. I ask what is she picking, of course I can not understand the name, my frustration grows daily with the language barrier. I smile and say I do not understand, she smiles in return and holds out her hand, offering me one but I refuse, thank her and turn away, she seems….disappointed.
I am sad to have refused, angry with myself, I often refuse gifts that are offered to me and this was a gift, an across the twig fence gift, an opportunity for more, to be invited in, to know how this seemingly out of place happy family came to live at the end of the lane, before the bougainvillea path, before where the fisherman drink in the early afternoon and before the stretch of hot sand that separates us from the Bay of Bengal.
Today I watch as she walks down the lane hand in hand with her daughter, she kneels at the corner and they wait, and they wait, and suddenly with a burst of speed, the son, younger than the daughter, comes rushing around the corner to meet them. I know in that moment that there will be another opportunity and this time I will run to meet it.